Holding Pepina: Anne Leighton Massoni

Sol Mednick Gallery

In “Holding Pepina,” newly appointed Assistant Professor and Photography Program Director Anne Leighton Massoni utilized a combination of created images and found photographs to present works that inhabit a place between truth and fiction. Contrasting black and white digitally printed images sit side by side with a thin line painted across their surface, drawing imagined connections. The images themselves reinforce the concepts of memory and notions of artifact to represent an underlying story, which touches on the personal while still attempting to address the universal collective of viewers own lives. “Holding Pepina” is dedicated to Josephine Vigo, Massoni’s paternal great-grandmother who "stole the family silver" to pay for her passage from Italy to America at the age of 17 so she could marry Angelo Firpo, a man she'd never met. Her family and friends knew her as Pepina. Massoni writes, “The line, like a strand of DNA, ties the images, separated by generations, to one another. The line is often initiated in the found photograph by pointing to the senses – taste, smell, touch, sound – to a point in the contemporary image that speaks to the residues left behind by current or past inhabitants.” By creating fictions that are at once believable and universal, but drawing upon vernacular and found photographic imagery, Massoni invites the viewers to create their own connections, using their own imaginations to fill in the blanks about what was once real, and connections imagined that while not truthful in fact, just might be possible. This aura of possibility is what gives the work its strength, inviting the viewer to create his or her own constructed realities.

Massoni graduated with an MFA in Photography from Ohio University and BA’s in Photography and Anthropology from Connecticut College. She has held faculty positions at Marshall University, Cornell University, Tyler School of Art, Washington College, Memphis College of Art and Monmouth University before joining UArts in 2013. Massoni’s work has been exhibited at the H. F. Johnson Museum in New York, the Print Center in Philadelphia, the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C., the Allen Sheppard Gallery in New York City, Newspace Gallery in Portland, Ore., Rayko in San Francisco and the East End Film Festival in London. Her work was included in the 2013 International Mobile Innovation Screening in New Zealand and Australia and IlCantinonearte Teatri e Galleria del Grifo in Montepulciano, Italy. Recent publications of her work include ASPECT: The Chronicle of New Media Art and SpostaMenti, an exhibition catalog of her series “Holding Pepina,” and The Photograph & The Album, published by MuseumsEtc in England. Massoni resides and works in Philadelphia.

There will be a reception for “Holding Pepina” on February 27 at 4 p.m. in the gallery.

Above: "Mother’s Tangle Bicycle Thief," archival digital print and hand-drawn/painted line, 26x13, 2011.

Terra Hall
211 S Broad Street, 15th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
United States

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